Tag: R. Dyer

Firelighter Funguscake

February 2022
The Rossi Bar

Starting the evening of people playing under their own real names we had Martin Chick. Last time I saw Martin play he was surrounded by a load of bulky kit including an old Korg, this he slimmed down to a Modular synth and another box, the inevitable clutter of wires ensuring it’s not too tidy. Starting with a bass pulse on the 8s with bell on the ones, he blends in some white noise snares, warbling tinnitus pitch tones marshalling in more drums. A bit of random pitching ushers in a more minimal section that ends up feeling like a fence post being replaced after a storm. Slowly, slowly, blocks of bass or noise or stem whistle are folded in and left to drift off. The sound empties out; cuts of drum in and out, beep tone, bass teased back, then again out. Those blocks of pink noise back, flexatone. A steam kettle in another room washes out everything, building to blistering boil and end.


An SD card incident has removed two thirds of my recording of Kieran Mahon’s set, but hey, I streamed it on FaceBook Live, so can revisit that. Kieran hisself starts the set tucked down behind the upturned box hiding his modular from us – so a much sleeker look to his kit, a dreadbox perched on top. Mid-range drone modulates to wobble as buzzes and the sounds of a dinosaur in a cardboard box reverb subtly into our audio view. An untuned high stabbing on the 32s distracts from the indecent growling, everything goes back do drone, then we get some proper across the board pulsing. Then slowly we get a bit of the beeping sequencing peeping through – and that’s what we come to Kieran for. All around it science fiction shimmers and tones form and fade. Some time later a counter arpeggio assembles against the first and the two dance around each other. This slow unfolding is mesmeric. The sequences morph chaotically, pitches bend, timbres mutate. Shudders whip through, then all we’re left with is the ephemera. Echo thrums and a doorbell riff lead us on into the final section of  almost free improv clanking, finally a bass heartbeat grounds us  and a long arpeggio sends us blissfully off into space.


Finally we had R. Dyer to end the night. She started with what I suspect was an unplanned version of “Little Victories” with a new set of recorded good moments, they’re as funny as usual, the song as gloriously melancholy as usual, looped soprano sax lines weaving around each other over a low keyboard drone as Becca sings over the top. There’s a lot of new victories so we have a fairly extended outro involving washing up, Coventry, bells… other things. The second track starts with a strong keyboard bass line, organ notes, chimes, a couple of gently muted sax layers, vocals. Little raindrops is like an afternoon spent in the loft of your childhood home. “Canaries” was next, after a chat about the canary resuscitator, they were only retired in the late 80s. Who knew? It starts with a creepy creaking walking pace keyboard part, with some odd fx and singing from the canary’s perspective, an interlocking set of soprano layers, more singing finishing with the song of a toy canary. Starting with drum machine tambourine, unison soprano, I missed the name of the penultimate song. There is a sax solo in this one that really flies, lifts the spirits. “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. For “King Alfred’s Cakes” Becca’s harp became detached from its contact mic, so she performs it acoustically, no electronics(!) but it’s wonderful, so we don’t mind. Voice and harp, do we need more description.


Our 20th Anniversary Year finally starts

September 2021
The Rossi Bar

The Rossi Bar Thee Founder Tony is the true editor of Gravitational Pull and he’s asked me to write reviews of the online shows we did, I’ve not done it. They’re still online at our YouTube channel, each one is about an hour long, I think we definitely grew into them and I just want to say Thanks to Tom from Ensemble 1 who edited the shows together and Chris midi_error who did the graphics. I think they did a cracking job and I’d recommend you watch them if you haven’t done already. Or even if you have. And obviously a big thanks to all the artists who took part.

David K Frampton and R. Dyer

Welcoming us back to the Rossi bar for our eventual first show of 2021, our 20th anniversary year we have David K Frampton with R. Dyer, David Frampton on synthesisers and R. Dyer on soprano saxophone. They start with slow pads of synths and Becca’s sax weaving in and out of them the heavy reverb lending it an odd 80s air, before Dave comes in with his distinctive heartfelt vocals, occasionally switching into a higher register. The second number picks up the tempo considerably with a heavily filtered arpeggio, that switches around between instruments before Dave starts singing, then we have a lengthy instrumental section featuring Becca again, some more vocals and then Dave gets stuck into doubling up the arpeggios. It ends up nicely stripping down to lengthy section with just the arpeggio a fat foghorn drone and sax flurries. The third is again a slower one, thick churchy chords, ticking drums, sax responding to Dave’s voice sometimes in response, sometimes swirling around it. After a while a bass drum subtly comes in, just giving it a little nudge of dynamism for the final section. There’s an impromptu quiz before the final song kicks off, upping the tempo again, a two chord riff with Dave singing before other things switch in, a burst of arpeggios, slow work from Becca, this one stuck with me for quite a while. Hooky.


Hardworking Families

Next up is Hardworking Families, starting with a bubbling burst of synth from a new tiny Korg, one of a collection of small things that Tom is using this evening, passing this through the Monotron delay, there’s a cassette deck, which isn’t actually introduced for a while and a contact mic we’ll most certainly hear from eventually. The burbling gets caught up into an effects loop mushing it into some quite nasty edges, before the delay mutes it down to counting station static. The contact mic gets some action, it s a big clunky thing and seems to produce some scraping and odd springing sounds. After this we get a passage of spacey drones and meeps veering into Forbidden Planet territory at times. These firm up into a harsher juddering tone that eventually spirals out to a proper bit of fat drone hard buzzing synth, with undercurrents of noise and whirring.


Ravine Machine

It takes a while to get set up for Ravine Machine, 2 projectors and a whole set of things that get used as sources for projecting and for shadowplay. I think one projector broke down during the set, but I wasn’t in the right position to see it. But undaunted Amy carried on, improvising with what tools (and candles) were available.  Scott has an interesting set of things, too; a small array of sound sources, autoharp, thumb piano all feeding into a hand built modular device of some kind. Is it a mixer? A synth? All of these things maybe. They start fairly quietly with a low drone, over which eventually we get a scratching rumbling loop that provides some creepy rhythmic body. Some backward thumb piano subtly chimes in for that sepia nursery haunted house feel. After being properly spooked out by that we get gentle washes of the autoharp circling over it. The whole thing slowly shimmers off into much gentler zones without much seeming to have happened the atmosphere lifts. And eventually, slowly, hardens as a tidal surge of noise washes in looping out and returning harsher and more resonant every time. Thin strings of feedback taper past, there’s an undercurrent of watery gurgle, that pulsing relentless thick wave of noise keeps returning and finally ebbs away leaving the remains to filter back through the pebbles of whatever this metaphor has degenerated into and ends.


Well, I think that was a pretty damn good start to our anniversary year, but next month will, of course, be even better!